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Ear Defenders

We have had a big win recently on something that we have been working on with Dylan for a very long time. I knew when he learnt that they could help and would aid us in getting out and about in the world that they would help.

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When Dylan started school we told them that we had been encouraging him too try and wear ear defenders to help when out and about as Dylan finds noises very distressing. If we go outside and it is windy he is covering his ears and trying to escape, if he was outside in the garden and a truck, motorbike or an airplane goes overhead is running in and slamming the door. That just isn’t fair for him, he was desperate to play outside but just couldn’t stand the noise. They told me that they weren’t a good idea, wouldn’t make any difference to him and many other things.
I chose to simply ignore them. I knew they would help, I know my child far better than they think and I understand autism far more than they can appreciate.

We started with just 10 seconds on and it took a long time for them to even last that long, months in fact. Once he managed to keep them on for a few minutes you could see him starting to experiment with them, pulling them slightly away from his ears and then putting them over properly. Then when he was putting his hands over his ears I was putting his ear defenders on and he then started to realise that they helped a little.

After he was confident in the house with them and out in the garden I started taking them out with us and when he got overwhelmed and was asking to go home I would pop them on him and they would help him last a little longer.

He made me realise though this was the wrong way to do it.
The other day before we went into Soft play for the first time he requested “headphones” as he calls them, so I popped them on for him. My goodness what a difference it made having them on from the start.
For the first time I had to say to Dylan after two hours it was time to go because Amellia was asking to go. While there he was so much more relaxed, wasn’t running to the toilet to hide, no closing himself in the changing room, he actually enjoyed his whole time at soft play!

These have been a game changer for us, I cannot wait to get out and about more and am hopeful that using his ear defenders will enable us to enjoy more family days together. They will help to prevent him from getting overstimulated which can lead to meltdowns and self injurious behaviour.

Here is too more adventures together as a family!

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Softplay Success!

Finding a new place that Dylan thoroughly enjoys and caters to his needs is always a bit of a struggle and a huge success when we do. Recently we found a place that ticks all of the boxes and I hope that it will be a place your children can enjoy too if you live or are visiting the area.

When Ad is off work and able to go places with us I like to go somewhere new. It means that there are two sets of hands in case things don’t go our way and another set of eyes to keep a close watch while Dylan explores! It also means that if things don’t go the right way it is someone to talk to while I bundle him up to leave, help me ignore the judging eyes and grab the bags.

We headed to a soft play called Indiana Land and we couldn’t have found a better place to spend some time together! We paid £2.50 to get in, which is a bargain for soft play. There was only a few other children there, so nice and quiet for Dylan’s first time exploring.

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He was settled from the moment we got in and couldn’t wait to get exploring. It has a nice amount of empty space which gave lots of room for running around and some great slides, rope bridges, obstacles and a ball pit. Dylan really enjoys open space because when you go to a soft play or even a park he finds it very overwhelming trying to decide what to go on. He loved just being able to running without having to make any decisions immediately. He then took my hand and wanted me to go exploring with him. Which many soft play places don’t like, so I was really pleased that they didn’t mind me going on with him to help him familiarise and get used to everything there was to offer.

After a while it was obvious that he was getting overstimulated from all the running, jumping, sliding and just having a good time. Ad then spotted a sensory room!
It had a passcode on the door so we asked the lovely workers at the reception if we could go in and they happily opened it. Inside it was amazing, big bean bags to relax on, ear defenders, several different light features that you could change the colour on, timers and a fiddle board.

 

I really liked that it had a passcode because it meant that others couldn’t just come in and out while he was having his chill out time before heading out to run around again.
I’ve never seen a sensory room at a soft play before so this really is such an inclusive place.

Highly recommend here if you live around or are visiting the area especially for parents with ones on the spectrum/sensory needs etc as it’s a struggle to find places that cater to them and this place is perfect!

The only thing that would worry me about going on the weekends would be that the freefall may be open. It was locked when we were there as it was during the terrific tots time which was a big relief if it was open and Dylan took a notion to go down it we would have probably had to leave as once Dylan gets an idea in his head it is pretty impossible to distract him.

-WeeOhana

 

 

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Sensory park!

We are always on the look out for new and exciting places to take the kids and especially ones that Dylan will enjoy and be able to roam around with as little danger present as possible. When we heard about a new soft play opening and accessible park with sensory garden we could not wait to try it out!

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I took him one day after school while we were waiting to pick up Amellia and thought we would be able to fit in some time at the soft play and the park. We headed into the “big house” as Dylan decided it was and went through to the soft play.
I’d heard a lot about the soft play so maybe my expectations were just set to high, but as soon as we went through the doors to the soft play Dylan did not want to be in it. His problem was that one side of the room was a big window and out of this window you could see the park. He just kept running to the window and the door which was alarmed and looked very easy to set off so I didn’t want to risk that. He was getting wound up pretty quickly that he couldn’t get out and a meltdown was just a few minutes away, so I decided scrap the soft play lets just head to the park.

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Now the park I hadn’t heard much about, but oh my goodness, it was absolutely amazing. It had a great climbing frame which was wide enough for wheelchairs to go up and had a rocking boat that they could go into and you rock, some big long slides that Dylan absolutely loved because he is a huge thrill seeker! A bouncy floor, swings, wheelchair swing, hopscotch, drums, giant xylophone, giant spiders web and I’m sure some other bits that have slipped my mind.

Dylan really loved the sensory garden which had all the musical things in and really enjoyed playing them and having a little dance while I played them.

We really enjoyed the park and will be making a regular trip here, I loved how brightly coloured it was because it made it all so eye catching to Dylan and I really loved how inclusive this park was for everyone. I’ve never seen a park like this before!
If you live in the area or further afield and are looking for an inclusive park I highly recommended giving this park a visit!

-WeeOhana

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Soft Play & Lunch

This weekend I was feeling brave, so as my hubby was working I decided to brave a little soft play that is close to us.. I thought with it being a Sunday morning it would have been pretty quiet and would hopefully let me little man come round to it ok before it got to busy and that my little girl could waste some of her every lasting energy that she seems to run on! It is a pretty nice little soft play area it has a little bit for little ones, then has the bigger part for all the bigger ones to run around in, which is good though is that the bigger part isn’t that big and you can see it all from the smaller bit. I feel a lot happier when being there with the both of them by myself as it means I can keep an eye on them both.. though generally my little girl is running about talking and yelling in full volume so I normally hear her first!

When we first got there it wasn’t as quiet as I expected. I had told my little girl that we would stay at least half an hour, but if little man really didn’t like it after that we would have to go and we would do arts and craft when we got home. It took him a while to settle down, but with a bit of encouragement,persuasion, and letting him settle down in his own time, he started to enjoy himself. It only took twenty minutes.. the stares were there, the judgement from others was but I ignored the glares and judgement and kept myself calm to help calm him. It was tough to ignore them, but I had to not only for my little boy but also so that my wonderful ball of energy princess could waste some energy too!

I put him down the slide but he was starting to get unsettled again, he came over and took my hand and walked me over to the ball pit. At first I really didn’t want to get in and tried to persuade him to go in by himself.. but he really wasn’t happy. I decided again to ignore all the looks and get into the ball pit so that he would enjoy himself! Every child deserves to enjoy themselves! When I had decided I was there for my two to have fun, I just forgot everyone around us and had fun!

img_2302-2The ball pit was super and he would have stayed in there all day!
img_2297-1We then ventured up to the bigger part and took on the bridges/wobbly floors/bigger slides etc. He had so much fun, though he wasnt to convinced that the bridge was safe by the looks of that face!

We all lasted the full two hours! It was wonderful, and something I will have to do again with them whenever I am feeling brave and like I could take on the world despite all the looks! I guess it is something I am just going to have to get used too, one step at a time I will learn to deal with this!

When we left he went to sleep in the car on the way home, so me and my little girl decided that we would pop to the cafe close to our house and enjoy a “girly” lunch with him fast asleep! She got a milkshake and toast with a fried egg and I got a very tasty panini. When she had finished she decided that she was still hungry and needed another fried egg and more toast, so while she ate that up I treated myself to a caramel brownie.

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We all had a lovely day out and when we got home we did some lovely coloring together!

Sometimes you have to break down your own barriers to be able to help those around you. I’m working real hard on this.. taking it day by day. I’m not forcing myself to do anything I don’t feel I can as that just puts me back a step.. I’m just trying to be more positive and to ignore those who don’t know my situation and are judging without any knowledge.

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WeeOhana xx